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84 Golf Mtdi, 86 Golf 2.0L, 88 Fox Diesel Wagon, 08 Rabbit GTI
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My girl has had stellar luck with the cars we have found on Craigslist, but this one takes the cake. The last car we got for her was a B4 TDI, and although she was doing well learning stick, it is currently out of commission for a clutch noise. Becoming more and more anxious to get rid of her Mazda 3 (the only oddball, non VW of the household), we began our search for a dependable and simple automatic to have as a backup while she masters the art of clutchwork. Well...we missed "decent" by a long shot.

She was browsing the classifieds, when I mentioned an old neighbor that had a 4 door automatic golf that he bought from the original owner. Not a minute later, she said "Here is one in LA for $1000. Posted yesterday." I was rather blown away when I saw the pictures and how clean it looked. The headliner was sagging, which was no big deal at all, and the pictures were cropped to the point that you couldn't see the seats, so i figured they were all worn out....but the price still seemed perfect.

I talked to the seller for a bit, and AFTER answering all of my questions he told me that there was already someone planning to come over at 2pm, and that he would call me if they decided to pass on it. I made sure to tell him his price was more than fair, and not to let that person talk him down a dime.

Still, I thought to myself, "Great. It's sold."

Well...the person that came to look at it wasn't a VW person! Not sure about the 3 people that were supposedly in line after us...but the first person was just someone browsing through the cheapest cars on craigslist to find something for their kid's first car! Since the car would need better wheels and a stereo, the guy said that he wanted to think about it and keep shopping around. The seller called me back, and we started out 3 hour drive to LA on Christmas Eve...a dubious mission. :eek: :banghead:

I will let the pictures speak for themselves from here on out, but other than an annoying brake squeel and some tuna-boat suspension...this car is a Christmas miracle. I hope the car is handsome enough to take attention away from the unflattering backdrop :facepalm:






The car was very well maintained. 97k on the clock (working). As if the old style pink slip from '87 wasn't peculiar enough to me, this was a particularly awesome glovebox treasure

Funny...the corner or the window sticker saying "Seatbelts save lives"...but these two point door mounted shoulder belts (no lap belts) are just as terrifying as they are annoying! A 3 point belt swap will be among the highest priorities on this project.
Also found the manuals for this gem.

Before removable faceplates were a big deal...just remove the whole stereo!

The blems and bumps on the car are minimal, but they exist.

Something gave a little scrape and love tap on the front corner. NBD. You can barely notice the little fold on the front corner of the fender by the grill. I probably shouldn't have mentioned it haha


The drivers door has a little ripple, which is apparently invisible to the camera. This side shot actually looks pretty good...so I probably shouldn't have mentioned it.

There is an itsy bitsy ding on the right rear corner that lost some ruberized coating and paint, and a weird little bump right in the middle that is mostly hidden under the bumper. I think I can straighten these and touch them up pretty easily.

And at first I thought this was rust, but apparently both quarter flares were put on poorly with some disgusting goop. Not sure how well these will clean up, but we will find out. Worst case scenario, we might have to break OEM looks and do full flares to cover it up

...but if that is the worst of it....HOLY CRAP WHAT A NICE CAR!!!!!:D

My bb is finally inspired enough to start her own vortex membership, so she will probably chime in and take over updates once I show her the ropes. I was just way to excited to start a thread.
 

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84 Golf Mtdi, 86 Golf 2.0L, 88 Fox Diesel Wagon, 08 Rabbit GTI
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
FV-QR

The list of plans is starting to solidify for it's most immediate needs. We started with an oil change last night, which was far more frustrating than it should have been. I have been used to getting the diesel oil filters for practically every vw I work on, but I suppose it has been a while since I worked on one that still has AC (which doesn't work, by the way). The larger filter was not easy to sneak in, and once I finally got it around the lower radiator hose, I realized I had to bend back the tab where the coolant bypass tube attaches to the front motor mount bracket. It all worked out :)

I am pulling the pan on the tranny today, and changing the gear oil in the diff. The Green coolant will do just fine for now.

I have a bunch of leftover parts from various projects and donors. the first of which was a mk3 jetta that I parted out. I have a new set of 200mm rear drums, and a set of front spindles, complete with big brakes and oversized balljoints. The mk3 front pads and rotors were also close to new, although the rotors were still solid, non-vented. If the automatic axles still fit the mk3 bearings, I will swap entire hub assemblies in. If not, I have a new set of vented 9.4"s on the shelf that were supposed to be for the Fox.

The struts are quite spooky, so suspension is also a high priority for safety's sake. I would love to see if I can get another set of Megan Racing coilovers, but for budget's sake, a used Bilstein/Neuspeed combo would do the trick.

Small bumpers are permanent. Automatic is permanent. Restoring the A/C would be AWESOME, but also costly and time consuming. Long term, I would very much like to resurrect it. It is in the air right now.

I have an early ABA block, full serpentine setup(well...minus A/C :/ ) and a spare hydro head to rework and slap on top. I pretty much have the means of prepping a full spare motor that can be ready to swap in at the drop of a hat. The other option would be to prep the long block and put the original v-belt setup back on.

Right now, there is a gross noise that I am hoping is coming from the A/C compressor being run dry. I am going to try to run the engine momentarily today without the belts on, just to make sure it isn't a noise in the bottom end. Stethoscope points to the A/C, but I want to be sure.

As far as mod #1, the steel wheels have been banished and replaced with the stock mk3 wheels that still had new tires on them. Not the best looking wheels in the world, but they sure made a quick difference.


Other than that, we will see how patient I am before breaking down and slapping this on.


As long as they are factory parts...that just makes it OEM+...right?


Good find. It's nice to still see unmolested mk2's hanging around in good shape. :beer:That interior is gorgeous also
Don't make me feel bad now. I don't want to be a written off as a molester :facepalm: I think a few tasteful modernizations are in order, and we can always keep the OG parts in a box if someone wants to put it in a museum ;) :beer:
 

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Don't make me feel bad now. I don't want to be a written off as a molester :facepalm: I think a few tasteful modernizations are in order, and we can always keep the OG parts in a box if someone wants to put it in a museum ;) :beer:
Oh I'm not saying you're ruining the car. I just mean it's not often you see a mk2 not all hacked up. What you're talking about is improving the car and fixing up whats there. :beer:
 

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Oh I'm not saying you're ruining the car. I just mean it's not often you see a mk2 not all hacked up. What you're talking about is improving the car and fixing up whats there. :beer:
Thank you! That's what I've been trying to tell him. We're definitely going for tasteful yet effective upgrades.

Annnd I guess this is where I chime in and add my to-do list.. since this is my car..

(PIPE) DREAMS & TO-DO'S
- Since I'll never locate a set of chrome Cal Master wheels typically found on Golf Country Syncros, I'll settle for G60 steelies
- Bilstein er Megan Racing coilovers (I need to do more research in this dept)
- Color matched headliner (flowmastergfunk's almost got me talked into blue crushed velvet, but I swore I said tasteful)
- Any receiver/set of speakers that doesn't sound like you're listening to music with toilet paper in both ears (this actually is flowmaster's dept)

Beyond that, my motto for this car is.. if it ain't broke, don't fix it. :popcorn:

*knocks on wood*
 

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84 Golf Mtdi, 86 Golf 2.0L, 88 Fox Diesel Wagon, 08 Rabbit GTI
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The golf has been surviving our little So Cal storm season without filling up with water! Excellent!

Kittentaxi and I found a set of sportline springs at the junkyard during a sale. I went back down the next day to pull the fronts, only to find afterwards that someone pulled the rears before I got there :banghead: I bought the fronts anyways. The struts may not be special, but the springs and updated strut mounts/hats were worth buying as a whole. I am hoping the local that bought the rears puts them up for sale on the local classifieds out of frustration haha.

I went to move the car the other day and all of a sudden it just keeled over, not starting again. Ended up being a junk rotor on the distributor and the tip had come loose, breaking contact. $9 later, it started right up.

Still haven't gone to tear apart the front end yet, as the rain has been pretty invasive. I did finally realize when I crawled under the car that the GL's don't have sways. That is actually fine by me at this point, because it will make the control arm bushings a little easier haha. It also makes the mk3 rear beam a bit more tempting, since I gots it.

I did a parts order for a friend, and made sure to add a bit of my own wishlist to cash in on the free shipping. Time to get that ABA block on a stand and start preppin! The front and rear main seals should still be good as new, as well as the belts and such. Sticking with another stock small valve hydro head with stock head bolts, but it has the light mk4 lifters in it. I have had it on the shelf hoping to do some port work and convert it to 7mm ABA valves, but I will save that for another rainy season. Hopefully rainy day with better funding :p


I also grabbed a 22mm mk3 master cylinder and a TB with equipped with WOT and idle switches. Not yet sure if I have to do an ECU swap on this to get a working WOT circuit set up, but at least I will be covered and prepped to install the knock box setup alongside the ABA.
 

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84 Golf Mtdi, 86 Golf 2.0L, 88 Fox Diesel Wagon, 08 Rabbit GTI
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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
That thought in itself really hit me hard. We practically saved this car from going to the junkyard haha. I am a firm believer of having wide tires planted flat on the ground. :beer:

Last weekend, we made a little road trip to pick up some CX Racing coils from another enthusiast parting out a mk3.

Practically the same as my Megan coils, but with blue anodized highlights instead of red. A very handsome match for this car, albeit mostly hidden. It took a few days to get everything done, but there was a lot accomplished. I took apart all the coils, cleaned the all the threads and bits, got everything lubricated with some anti seize, and made sure to get my adjustments even. I installed the fronts with mk3 bearings and bushings, and swapped in the mk3 hubs and brakes as well.

Of course, you have to do r32 control arm bushings at the same time as well

Still thankful I did not have to fight a sway bar to get these out, but I did find that on an automatic car, you must take out the bolt on the trans mount and jack it up to get the front A-arm bolt out.

...still easier than fighting a sway bar. Also, these bushing are magnificent one way or the other, but are absolutely crucial for those not running a sway bar in the first place.

I decided against swapping the mk3 rear beam and brakes for now. Upon inspection, the rear drums on the golf were actually like new. Hardware, wheel cylinders and all. There was a lot of rusty crusty dusty grime and such on the backing plate and on the seams where the drums fit in, so I cleaned and painted everything, resurfaced the drums, repacked the wheel bearings, and bled the whole system.

Oh yeah, more mk3 stuff. I swapped in the 22mm master cylinder and reservoir as well. I cleaned up the proportioning valves and painted them satin black too, but found that the plastic nipple on the mk3 res (for a hydro clutch feed) got in the way, and the fluid level sensor being towards the front was a bit of a stretch for the harness. Flipping it around remedies both issues. Also, cleaned up some mk3 strut caps. I was worried initially that the threads of the new coils stick up to high, but the hood is safe :)



What a fuster cluck of hoses and junk in this region. A master cylinder should not be so hard to get to haha.

So it took a few days, but that was a lot to get done! The car feels much safer now, and whadda ya know, it looks a little better too!

Before:

After:


I think braking performance would have increase from just a fluid change, after seeing what came out of the system....but the front calipers are a nice upgrade. Funny that the rotors are still pretty much the same. Once these pad's are at the end of their lifespan, upgrading to vented 10.1"s won't take much time at all. The hard part is done :)

Now it just needs a good detail and some new stone guards. Still hoping I can clean up the superglue damage without sacrificing much paint. It's definitely not "stance nation" but it is pretty tucked! Lower than a cup kit, but the oil pans and fenders are well safe ;)

After we get this beast cleaned up, I really need to find a more flattering background :facepalm:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
FV-QR

I have been spending far more time maintaining the fleet lately than posting on vortex. I suppose that is good! Nothing too too exciting with the golfer lately. I bought new speakers for it, which all installed quite nicely...but it turns out the rears aren't getting any juice. I figured the headunit would suffice for a while, but that POS has got to go. I discovered a matching amp under the seat, which I assume is for the rears...but not sure yet how they wired it in, or what kind of splicing was done.


The 5x7's aaalmost fit perfect, but had to trim one corner on each speaker.


I have been spending a lot of time overhauling the garage and trying to make things feel more professional. It definitely feels good to havea couple engines on stands though! Finally pulled the drivetrain out of the rabbit and started into cleanup. I have all the parts ready to put the ABA back together, and most of the AHU. I have had the headwork on the backburner because of potential in getting an old flow bench from a local shop. Since that isn't coming to fruition soon enough to appease me, I am just going to do some light headwork for now and just get the engine bolted up. There is no need to be too picky, when the car will see enough of an upgrade from the extra displacement, compression, and the exhaust manifold setup. Ahh, and reliability.



Oh yeah, did away with the orange.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
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Finally been chipping away at this the last several weeks. It's amazing how much cleaning had to be done. Everything is painted and resealed on the engine, the transmission is MOSTLY resealed, except for the fact that the Elring gasket set is just about worthless. Most of the important seals are done... the axle flange seals, the torque converter seal, output shaft seal, The giant oring between the diff and slushbox, the two orings for the 2nd gear brake band cover...which you have to drop the valve body if the piston decides to pop out (which it did). The diff and drivers side retainer had to he resealed with gear oil RTV, since there were no flippin gaskets or orings included. The kit didn't even come with an oring for the dipstick tube!!!!! Whatever. I am hoping the pan doesn't leak anymore. It still leaked after replacing the gasket before, so I am not sure if the pan was warped, or if it was dripping from above. Also, once I took this bastard apart, I realized how similar the 020 diff was, and learned that you can use the 40/80% slip kit, should I feel like converting too 100mm flanges and axles. Good to know!



For the engine, I ended up using the stock head, instead of the spare that I have been porting. Why? Partially impatience, partially money, but mostly because I figured that it will help keep the torque at the bottom where it is really needed. I was certainly right about the headgasket weeping coolant into the old block though! It was definitely replaced by a hack last time around. It honestly looked like someone hit the head with some 100grit sand paper. I could have pretty much guessed that the way that they had spray painted the whole top end with silver spray paint. No matter, I cleaned everything like new, and the more we have to shave off the head, the more compression we get :D

Again, I used the stock 8mm valves, but ended up having to do the valve guides on the exhaust side anyways. Fun fact: 8mm valves weigh 73.1g intake and 71.6g exhaust,, while the 7mm ABA valves weigh 62.7g and 60.5g, respectively. I look forward to reaping the benefits of that valve swap in a hydro head, just not on this build :(
However, we still get to reap the benefits off the late model light weight lifters. These measure were taken after being disassembled and cleaned. The old style is almost 17g heavier? The weight proves that the OG ones are legit evil.


I only have a few things left on the parts list before bolting it back in. I need new injector cups, a front motor mount, and a drivers side axle. All the AC stuff is out,, the bay is mostly clean, but can always use a little more detail work while I wait for parts.



Also, the test fit of the mk4 exhaust mani and downpipe appears to be a great success! I was concerned about the clearance, but I actually think it is a more comfortable fit than the toiled bowl setup. The specific manifold that I used has a big "log" that goes across the bottom of all 4 exhaust flanges (I think it is for some sort of EGR crap). I was worried that it might hit the starter and that I would have to grind a different mk4 mani (sans log) for counterflow use. Thankfully, it is clean and clear! The OG starter heat shield won't fit, but I don't think I want to use it anyways. Though this engine may create more heat than the stock one, I think the improved flow (both internally and externally) will have less problems with heat soak. I would imagine a solid brick of poor flowing cast iron is going to retain more heat than individual runners. Not sure that I would be able to wrap the pipes on the manifold, but I well may wrap the downpipe for good measure. Here are a few pics of the test fit




The mk4 unit does come braced to the back of the block, but even without a big ol' starter in the way, it doesn't line up with the holes on the ABA block. I ran it braceless on my mk1, so I suppose we will see how it fares this time around!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Cleaning all every little part always makes the process take far longer than expected, but I want to say the engine bay is about 85% buttoned up.



Little things go a long way. I love the way it looks without the AC and cruise control clutter, and I threw an old mk1 diesel valve cover on it to smooth things out. I am going to wrap and tuck the wires a bit still, but I also need to run a few extra wires at the same time.

I have run into a few snags, and I have to do a little more hunting and waiting for parts. Snag one: I need idle and WOT switches on the throttle body for the knock box. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. I presume it will have to be a hybrid with my existing linkage, due to the automatic cable setup.

Snag two: the Behr radiator that I bought from autohausAZ is worthless.



I am not in any kind of mood to make custom bracketry or attempt to drill holes in a brand new radiator....BECAUSE I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO!!!


Unfortunately, I bought it more than 90days ago, and figured that I would wait to put it in until after the engine swap. The CSR at autohaus continually tried to blame me on ordering a radiator for the wrong application, although it is clearly manufacturer error. I got him to agree to take it back, if I pay the return shipping, in which he sent me a conformation email that says "Credit will only be issued for new parts returns received within 90 days from the original invoice date, regardless of the reason for return (including Autohaus AZ error). This policy does not apply to warranty or core returns. New parts returned after 90 days will not be credited nor shipped back."

...OK? So Is this a warranty? Am I NOT going to send it back? Thanks :/ I got hands on the Murray brand radiator through O'Rielly's, just to see how it looks, and there are no passenger side mounting holes at all. It looks like I should havve gone wwith Nissens from the get go, but I definitely don't feel like ordering from Autohaus again, which is a shame. Hopefully I can get ahold of a different CSR and get a more reasonable outcome.

So I am guessing a few more weeks and it should be back on the road! At least there is still work to be done while I wait :)
 

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That radiator mounting strip can be moved with persuasion.
I don't know if you have a tool to pry up the crimped lip on one side. You might have something in your tools that can be used.
Given how close the hole is, you may be able to lightly tap on the strips end till it lines up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Right? I do have a box full of persuaders, but I wanted to investigate the chance of swapping it for a different unit before molesting it and DEFINITELY voiding the chance of return. Still, it is enough to upset me haha. I spent a little extra to get the "reputable" brand. :facepalm: Unfortunately, the gauge of steel they used on the brackets are much thicker than the top and bottom plates that they are attached to, so there isn't much forgiveness to be had.

On a brighter note, I made a literal "impulse" buy at the junkyard, when I spotted a nice set of alloys on an Isuzu Impulse. I saw right through the dirt and absolutely had to liberate them. They are 14x6 et24, and have no damage. There is going to be a great deal of polishing in my future, but these are going to look wicked! I might have a hard time finding another two original center caps, but I am sure I can land something else that will fit. I have a soft spot in my heart for BMW bottlecaps, so these are right up my alley. I feel very lucky to have spotted such a set.


...but no throttle body:(
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
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It lives! With more vigor than ever before! We got pretty darn close to making it to Socal Euro, but one setback kept us anchored. I had it running and driving, but the serpentine belt would not stop squealing :facepalm: It seems to me that the harmonic dampener is shot, although I never had an issue last time this bottom end was being run. I think I may have switched dampeners with a friend by mistake when he asked if I could bring over some parts to diagnose fitment issues on his 16v...but that is another story. We are just going to save some extra bucks and by the lightweight bling bling kit from Gruven Parts. I have already replaced the crank sprocket and bolt on this bottom end before, so my hope and educated guess is that there are no deeper issues, and this vibration dampener has just transformed to a vibration enhancer.


I ironed out all kinds of other little snags. The radiator? I gave up on any hopes to return this stupid thing or buy another, so I got to drillin' and made a bracket to throw my old Flexilite unit on there.


Throttle body? More drilling, and a little tapping to follow. Dug through my parts bin and found brackets, switches, and a harness connector to make it happen. It was a PITA, but it turned out perfect.


I even had a broken bracket to hold the harness connector, that with a little grinding, I was able to fit perfectly around the vacuum nipple on the back.


Solder party!


I honestly couldn't even tell you how many hours I spent hovering over the wiring diagrams, soldering, and melting heatshrink (not to mention cleaning EVERY SINGLE FLIPPIN PART throughout the build)...but it was quite a while haha.

I did sooo much to clean up all the wiring in general and finish the knock box install. I tried to make everything appear as close to factory as possible. So clean, you can't even see the knock box:screwy:


I pulled the alternator cable out of the loom, and cut back the AC wires so they aren't just dangling clutter. I wrapped the whole harness in cloth tape, and started hooking things up, only to say "where the hell does this black and green wire go? Oh...the starter?" *unwrap and rewrap* :banghead: I redid all of the power and ground cables, deleting the mid cable connectors to eliminate added resistance. I like using wingnut battery terminals, so that's what it got. I want to start it for the first time...nothing. I figured it could have been in regards to the 3 point seat belt swap. Diagnosis actually brought me back to the factory starter relay, which had decided to break off at all of the connectors.


After splicing a new relay harness in place, it still did nothing. Thus, I chucked that dinky little POS and wired in a real one.


Disco! That did the trick. And yeah, that positive terminal might look like a safety hazard to someone...but I like it. I didn't want to stack a bunch of cables on one post, so I drilled out a mk3 ground junction to slap on there. Still gotta have room for some power cable down the line!

Here are a couple general engine bay shots. Much cleaner. It can still use some tucking, but it is night and day compared it's OG form. There are so many details that you can't even notice, but lord did I slave over this mongrel haha. Still need to tuck some vacuum lines and route a catch can in the CCV.


and a repost for the sake of comparison


So that was that! Took it on it's maiden voyage over to my muffler shop to mate the DP with the rest of the system. I wanted to install a flange between the cat, but there wasn't much of a time window on the Friday before Socal. This 10 minute solution is fine by me, but I will be singing a different song if I have to smuggle that starter out of the back any time soon *knock on wood*


Aside from that, I had a minor distraction while installing "Real" seatbelts...


I went ahead and yanked out the old amp/speaker wiring while I had the seats out (amp was under the drivers seat). Sure, old school stuff can be cool, but I am embracing modern technology for this department. Bye Felicia!


And last but not least...BOTTLECAPS! :D

This is officially her good side, since I was able to find one out of two stoneguards at the junk yard recently.

Anyone that knows me by now knows how much I adore bottlecaps. The appeal on this car is no exception. However, they will only be on there until we save up for a round of ceramic polishing for the Impulse wheels, followed by a legit set of shoes. Offset seems good, although the center bore is 56.1 instead of 57.1. I do believe that they will seat flat with some very thin spacers, and that there will be no need to open up the bore. The tires on the bottlecaps are good to go, so we have plenty of time to investigate and plan :)
 
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